I love fresh tomatoes. I have tried many different recipes for Caprese salad – a tomato, basil and mozzarella salad – and have adapted to this one. Only serve this when tomatoes are fresh and in season. It is not going to taste the same in the winter. And don’t skimp on the mozzarella; get the good stuff.
2 to 3 fresh tomatoes, depending on their size. I like to get a couple of different kinds of tomatoes if they are available because they have different acidity and sweetness.
6 oz of fresh mozzarella
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, you can use any type of basil, but I enjoy the lemon basil if it is available
salt and pepper to taste, I use ground sea salt and fresh ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Slice the tomatoes to the desired thickness, usually about ¼ inch. You need a good sharp knife to do this without mutilating the tomatoes. Slice the mozzarella to desired thickness, again about ¼ inch.
There are a number of ways you can plate this. One is to place a slice of tomato on a plate, then slightly overlap it with a slice of cheese, and then a piece of torn basil. Repeat until the plate has a single cascading layer of tomato, cheese and basil. You can also chiffonade the basil rather than tear it and sprinkle the cut basil leaves between layers. If you would like to dress up the presentation, you can make Caprese stacks. Start with a tomato on bottom, then stack cheese, basil, tomato, cheese, basil and tomato.
Whatever presentation you select, finish the dish by squeezing fresh lemon over it, drizzling a bit of olive oil (don’t drown it!) and adding salt and pepper to taste. Let the dish stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.